Several beneficiaries on an IRA, one is POA. After death of benefactor, information received that IRA beneficiaries were removed and POA sole recipient . Firm also holding account was changed. Information released from bank said change was done electronically. Power of Attorney document does not allow the POA to change the beneficiary.
I agree that this could be a breach of fiduciary duty situation. You really should sit down with an attorney and discuss the specific facts of the case. Have the attorney review the POA and determine whether it allowed the agent to change a beneficiary? When was the POA executed (before or after the new POA laws requiring specific enumeration to change a beneficiary)? Was the change made at the principal's direction? Was the POA actually used to make the change or did the principal sign?
This answer is provided for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
If the POA does not allow this power then it should not be done. Additionally, nothing should be changed after death through a POA as the power ended upon death. Based on what you have posted, none of this sounds correct. The sooner you get legal representation the better, find an attorney that litigates these type of matters (again, the sooner the better).
Depends on the powers in the POA. Even if it permits such an action, it may be a breach of the fiduciary duty to use that power
My comments are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship, are not confidential, and are not intended to constitute legal advice. Proper legal advice can only be given by an attorney who agrees to represent you, who reviews the facts of your specific case, who does not have a conflict of interest preventing the representation, and who is licensed as an attorney in the state where the law applies.
I agree with my colleagues responses to your question.
Was the principal/IRA account owner able/capable to do changes electronically on their own?
You should meet with an experienced estate planning attorney to go over all the paperwork and the facts of the situation to determine what action can be taken.
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A POA must allow acts of self dealing if an agent want to equivocally avoid any breach of fiduciary obligation and the POA document must specifically authorize what an agent does. In this case specifically authorizing means it must state that they can change beneficiaries of an IRA. Additionally, Florida has the highest execution requirements of any state in the United States, that means there must be a signature, two witnesses and a third person who is a notary.
Assuming that the above is correct a power of attorney only grants powers for an agent to act on their behalf while that person is alive. Once they die, those powers die with them.
You should definitely consult with a Probate Attorney to determine if the POA within the scope of the powers granted to him/her by the deceased. But as my colleague the POA expires upon the death of the person granting such powers.
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